Marriage today is held up as a blissful haven of love and friendship, sex and stability. We long for the gold standard, the traditional marriage but marriage turns out to have a checkered past the traditional marriage was evanescent. This real look at what people think of as 'traditional' finally explains why so many married people are so unsatisfied. Marriage has changed more in the last thirty years than in the previous five thousand, and few of the old 'rules' for marriage still apply. In the courts, the op-ed pieces, and at the dinner table, battles rage over what marriage means, why people do it, and who can do it. 'Marriage, a History' is the one book you need to understand not only the vicissitudes of modern marriage but also gay marriage, 'living together' and divorce. Stephanie Coontz shatters dozens of myths about the past and future of married life and shows us why marriage, though more fragile today, can be more rewarding than ever before.